This post is dedicated to a fantastic book I read, Understanding the Mind of a Woman. Many men joke, “Not even women can understand the mind of another woman!” I’ve made the same joke myself, and the author opens up with it. Still, it is not true. Men can learn to understand the minds of their wives. Instead of a literal interpretation, however, it requires a deeper Christ-like attitude. I’ll warn you, this topic is not for the proud or the stubborn. If you want to truly connect to your wife, you must use your heart and be prepared to look at your relationship in a different light.
God created men and women to be different. He gave each of us different skills, viewpoints, and abilities. He appointed men to the headship of the family. But, what does that mean, really? We see so-called “leaders” of society and we see wealth and prestige. That is not, however, what Christ showed us. How did Christ lead? From on top of the cross! Are you ready to join him up there? Let’s find out!
4 Male Prejudices
1. Women are Impossible to Understand. This is a viewpoint shared by many men. It is not, however, actually true. 2000 years ago the apostle Peter recognized this pitfall, saying “Live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7). He thought it was possible. Why do we not now? Simple, we do not take a deeper view. Stay with me.
2. Women are the real problem! It does often seem that women just lock in on some indecipherable thing that doesn’t make sense. In my own marriage I have beaten my wife down to admission that her holdout issue was indeed silly. All this really proves is that I wasn’t listening to my wife’s heart and her intention. The real problem is something present in us, the husband: an absence of Christ-like leadership. We put effort into the marriage, but only because we expect to get something out of it (i.e. “vending machine”). That’s not how Christ gave to His bride.
3. Women are Inferior to Men. Of all the posts I fear writing for my wife to read, this may be near the top. It is, however, true. I’ve held this view before: not in some macho sense, but instead in a “productive” sense. Men can often seem to “get more stuff done” and “be better focused on critical results” than women. All this really is saying, though, is that men better conform to men’s standards.
Women bring a totally different set of skills and specializations to the table: ones that are uniquely feminine. To discount them is to discount God. When God told Adam that Eve was his help-mate, he didn’t mean that Eve would be tasked to wash Adam’s laundry. Instead, Eve was given a special charge to represent the helpful presence of God Himself to Adam, after the expulsion from Eden!
4. Men are supposed to be “The Boss.” Oh, of all the misunderstandings of Biblical text. “Wives, submit yourself to your husbands as unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:22). Gentlemen, we must not stop at this verse. Keep reading!! “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church!”
How did Christ, actually, love the church? By giving up his life and DYING for her! This doesn’t mean for you to get out your nailgun. We husbands are called to die to ourselves each and every day for our wives. That is the “boss” we’re charged to become. Christ is the King of King and Lord of Lords, the very epitome of “boss.” He lead from suffering. He calls us to join Him.
4 Basic Truths to Understand a Woman
1. God gave us men wives to help us become the best version of ourselves. It is her job to point out our flaws, and help us improve. If you do not open your heart to accept her correction, you are denying the role that God created.
2. You (the man) are the key to the problem. We men are so defensive! It’s true; when my wife starts some complaint I have a huge list of reasons why she is actually in the wrong and I am right. Sadly many of them are true, but missing the point. I want to challenge all of you men to one simple step: Every time your wife complains, start by assuming she is completely right!
3. Character is a big issue. Men focus on facts. We’re good with facts. We often, however, are blind to double standards, hypocrisy, and shifting responsibilities. It’s so easy to complain about the $40 she spends at the salon while ignoring the $40 we spent on alcohol. I often see my long day at work should entitle me to an evening of peace, while her day with the kids doesn’t entitle her to the same. Character matters. I’ll be writing soon about how John Maxwell views character as it affects our ability to influence and lead others. Character is the essence!!
4. She’s describing attitudes, not events. This one is hard for me. It’s very common that, when my wife and I are in a dispute, she will describe a historical event with a few minor errors. I instantly jump to notice the discrepancies, and begin to hammer on them. Not until recently did I realize that the sequential details had nothing to do with what she was really trying to say. She was trying to describe to me an attitude that I had displayed, not relay an accurate historical saga.
To really open myself up to her correction in this way is an ongoing effort. It requires me, each and every time, to stop and say “What is my wife really trying to say to me here? What weakness of mine is she trying to help me with?” We men need to look beyond the words, into the meaning our wives are trying to help us with. They are uniquely gifted to see attitude and emotion. We must value and encourage that! Let’s be blunt: We are terrible and that, and need the help!
How Does This Connect to Intimacy?
If you want to connect to your wife, you must minister to her spirit. Women do not arrive fully loaded with testosterone as men do. Connect to her, be open with her, and listen to what she’s really saying. You need to tend to each of her areas of need:
Spiritual: You must grow in Christ-likeness to minister to her spirit. She needs you to care for her, to love her. Not the warm-fuzzy feeling, but the true self-sacrificial nature of love.
Emotional: You must listen to her. Invest yourself into understanding her feelings. Her feelings are not problems to be solved, but a need to be understood.
Physical: Don’t live in front of the TV. There’s work to be done. Part of the burden of Christ-like leadership is the assumption that you have the FIRST responsibility to get stuff done. If, after work, both of you are tired, then it is the man’s job to care for the kids. That’s how Christ loved his church.
One Simple Rule to Help Going Forward:
No matter what she complains about, before you open your mouth to object, ask yourself instead “What part of this might she be right in? In what way could she be correct?” Then, start by saying “You’re probably right honey, how can I change to be better?” Open yourself up. Be vulnerable. Lastly, read the book. He says it better than I do.
Question for the readers: What simple things have you found you can do to really improve how you communicate and understand your wife?